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GILDAS On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain

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GILDAS
On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain
page 23



Ο thou son of Sion. Return (I pray thee), although from the far remote regions of sins, unto the most holy Father, who, for his son that will despise the filthy food of swine, and fear a death of cruel famine, and so come back to him again, hath with great joy been accustomed to kill his fatted calf, and bring forth for the wanderer, the first robe and royal ring, and then taking as it were a taste of the heavenly hope, thou shalt perceive how sweet our Lord is. For if thou dost contemn these, be thou assured, thou shalt almost, instantly be tossed and tormented in the inevitable and dark floods of endless fire. § 30. What dost thou also, thou lion's whelp (as the prophet saith), Aurelius Conanus ?* Art not thou as the former (if not far more foul) to thy utter destruction, swallowed up in the filthiness of horrible murders, fornications, and adulteries, as by an overwhelming flood of the sea ? Hast not thou by hating, as a deadly serpent, the peace of thy country, and thirsting unjustly after civil wars and frequent spoil, shut the gates of heavenly peace and repose against thine own soul ? Being now left alone as a withering tree in the midst of a field, remember (I beseech thee) the vain and idle fancies of thy parents and brethren, together with the untimely death that befell them in the prime of their youth; and shalt thou, for thy religious deserts, be reserved out of all thy family to live a hundred years, or to attain to the age of a Methusalem ? No, surely, but unless (as the psalmist saith) thou shalt be speedily converted unto our Lord, that King will shortly brandish his sword against thee, who hath said by his prophet, " I will kill, and I will cause to live ; I will strike, and I will heal ; and there is no one who can deliver out of my hand." Be thou therefore shaken out of thy filthy dust, and with all thy heart converted to Him who hath created thee, that "when his wrath shall shortly burn out, thou mayst be blessed by fixing thy hopes on him.0 But if otherwise, eternal pains will be heaped up for thee, where thou shalt be ever tormented and never consumed in the cruel jaws of helL § 31. Thou also, who like to the spotted leopard, art diverse in manners and in mischief, whose head now is growing grey, who art seated on a throne full of deceits, and * King of Powialand, which for some time formed a distinct kingdom.


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